Mark My Word April 2009

Mark My Word April 2009

It hit me as I was looking through a Michael’s Arts and Crafts sales flier a few weeks ago: There was not one thing I needed. What’s worse, there was nothing I wanted. (Quick, someone, feel my forehead! I may be hallucinating!)

Years of collecting every new quilting and crafting product; a halfyard or more from every conceivable line; needles and notions out the wazoo; and books, magazines and patterns that I’ve seen only once, then filed away where I’ll probably never see them again, proves one thing. Cupcake, I am the epitome of the all-American quilter.

I’ve always dreamily rationalized that the more expensive my stuff and the more of it I had, the better my patchwork would be and the more quilts I’d complete.

Lies, lies and more lies!

Expensive or innovative quilting tools and equipment will not make you a better quilter. Ask me how I know — I have one of everything. Tasks might be easier or different, but there’s no guarantee of increased performance unless there’s a quilter’s Viagra that I don’t know about. So, why do I keep buying? Well, my investment in quilting is bigger than just my stash. Believe it or not, it’s about thoughtful spending.

Now, don’t start piecing me a halo yet, girls. I mean, I am a quiltshopaholic and I’ve never seen an objet d'quilting I didn’t like (although nine times out of 10, I’ll never refer to my new-found treasure again). And while that may seem irrelevant, these cold hard facts aren’t: Each year, more than one million small businesses start in North America, and 800,000 of them fail in the first five years.

Of course the quilting world isn’t that big, but so far we are lucky in our abundance. (But who hasn’t heard of a local shop or two closing within the last couple of years?) And the innovations and creativity in the quilty supply sector complement our own abilities to innovate and create, and help us to become the better human beings we are through our art. Take one half of that equation away, and it will definitely affect the other.

Unlike the screwy management of the Big Three car makers and the endless line of banking louses with their hands out, we’re not a bunch of whiners. You may not know it because of how fun it often feels in a quilt shop or at a quilt show or surfing online stores, but most retail quilt businesses are struggling to keep their doors open. The bottom line is if you’re not spending money in the quilt-related venues you have access to while they are open, it’s a very, very real possibility that they might not be there the next time you need them. Sure, your fabric and notions may be less expensive on eBay, but at what cost in the long run?

The same goes for magazines and book publishers. People may thriftily pass their QH issue around to five other friends, and quilters may brag about buying a quilting book for literally one cent (plus shipping) on Amazon.com, but today’s continual financial hits translate to fewer books and magazines being published tomorrow. What keeps magazines and book publishers going is sales, same as their LQS counterparts.

Now, turnips, don’t go into debt or break the bank or starve your kids. But do keep your mind and your wallet open. You can sit in front of the boob tube, trying to make sense of mega-spending stimulus plans that even the Obamanos may not understand, or do a little stimulatin’ of your own. Spend what quilty cash you may have in the shops, shows and online venues you love and want to see around for awhile. Continue the investment in your passion for quilting, maybe even just one-fat quarter or notion a week. YOU be the bailout, baby, and keep on doing what you love! mark my word 6 Quilter’s Home April/May 2009

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Appeared in:

April/May 2009 Issue

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USER COMMENTS

Thinking in a new way!
A few months ago, I started thinking about how I was spending my money and where buying my quilting products. Thinking how bad this economy is getting, I thought the same as you, these little shops we love to go in and ooh and aah at won't be there if we don't spend money there to keep them alive. I like good buys just like the next especially since I recently became fixed income. I love to go into the shop and feel the material and imagine what would go with what and also to have help there to go over things I have no clue about. I don't spend alot, but I can tell you that I spend a whole lot more at the two nearest me more than I ever did before. What is nice also is that they are starting to really recognize me which I think is wonderful. I appreciate your magazine and I am so happy I found it last month. I read it from cover to cover, even all those ads! Thanks so much Quiltin4pleasure (Beth)
Love the local quilt shops
Of all the quilt shops I patronize, none have closed and one has expanded. I can't say as much for Hancocks or JoAnns -we've had several closures of the big shops. My husband who not so secretly thinks I should whittle down my stash - believes in supporting the local shops. Unfortunately for my wallet, he likes to buy sewing and embroidery machines - OMG I never thought that would come out of my mouth.
I'm Already On It
Being a senior citizen, I was thrilled to hear that my husband and I will both receive $250 of our money back at the end of May in the form of a "gift" from the gonvernment. Dear husband is daydreaming about what we could do with that money but I quilkly burst his bubble when I explained that I was earmarking my $250 for an extravagant trip to the quilt shops. One of our local quilt shops has an enormous selection of batiks which I love and the other has a lot of unusual fabrics. So I will divide and shop and make lovely quilts.
How true!
If we as quilters do not save our local small quilt shops, we will only have the big box stores to go to. It will be absolutely heartbreaking.
Yes, save the local quilt shop
This is so true wether you live in the US or Australia. I have several quilt shop with 10 miles or so that I can spend my quilt cash in. Lately I have been trying to buy a little from each of them. These businesses are run by some really nice people and I would really miss the kind words and friendly advice I get from them. Each carries different ranges of fabrics and always have some delicious fabrics for sale at really good prices. These are the one's you snap up as quick as look at them. PS. I have been reading your magazine for few months now and I love it, it is the quilt mag with the most fun. Keep up the qood quilty work. Cheers, Kate from Sydney, Australia.
Certainly took this to heart!
I found myself in the same situation last week, didn't need a thing when visiting JoAnn's armed with coupons. Later that afternoon after arriving home, I started thinking about a ruler I had seen at our local quilt shop--one 8 1/2" x 24". I didn't really need this ruler, but I didn't have one--and the thought of our wonderful local shop tanking gave me pause. So off I went to the shop and bought the ruler AND a book. So happy I got the ruler--it truly makes cutting out fabric easier--and I like the book! Maggie
tool vs. gadgets
Over the years, I have learned to discriminate between tools and gadgets. I buy tools, admire gadgets and put the bulk of my funds towards quality fabrics at my local quilt shop.
I completely agree!
Some other quilting friends and I were all talking about some different gizmos that we just had to have. In doing my research it really wasn't any cheaper to get them through ebay rather than a local consultant. The thought of helping some one else by contributing to their business just feels so much better anyway.

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